North Texas Daily

Eagle Commons Library basement set to reopen in two weeks following mold treatment

Eagle Commons Library basement set to reopen in two weeks following mold treatment

Eagle Commons Library basement set to reopen in two weeks following mold treatment
September 23
10:57 2019

Update as of Sept. 27: The Eagle Commons Library issued the following statement on Facebook: “We will not be reopening the sealed off areas in two weeks. We still have remediation to do and we will not be reopening the affected areas until the job is 100% done. We do not have a time line for the reopening but we do promise that we will let everyone know when it is done.”

The basement floor of Eagle Commons Library in Sycamore Hall is set to open for student use in two weeks after closing for mold removal, Associate Vice President for Facilities Dave Reynolds said.

“Right now, we’re waiting on final results,” Reynolds said. “They’ve finished the cleanup, but we’re waiting on some final analysis on the humidity in the air in that area. We should be wrapping that up in the next two weeks just to be safe.”

Facilities was first made aware of the mold back in March, but over the summer they realized the mold had continued to grow. Risk Management Services were brought in to evaluate the mold.

“We had mold on books in the book stacks, as well as down in the basement utility room,” Reynolds said. “We may bring in Risk Management from the university to help us do an evaluation of how much mold is there and if it’s something that’s within our cleanup capabilities, or if it’s gone beyond that threshold, and we need to bring in a professional firm.”

Sycamore Hall was originally built in 1937, but has had several renovations over the years that Reynolds said may have contributed to the growth of mold in the building.

“It’s not expected, but certainly not unexpected to see mold show up in an older building,” Reynolds said. “Probably some of those renovations were more thorough than others, so, we’re finding some things where we’ve got opportunities for warm, humid outside air to come in and mix with the air conditioning. That creates that opportunity for condensation and mold, especially if it’s an area that is not heavily used or darker.”

Despite the entire basement level being closed off, Government Information Librarian Head Robbie Sittel said that floor is primarily government documents and materials, which are not highly sought after.

“We have had some requests this semester that were affected by the area being closed,” Sittel said. “But [we] made do and were able to find alternative resources. We have a lot of online databases that have similar content if not the same content.”

However, the extra study space that has temporarily been lost by the basement floor being closed off has affected the library, Sittel said.

“As far as student spaces, we are seeing that we’re busier this semester,” Sittel said. “We can’t gauge the impact, but we can say we think that we are in need of that space.”

Interdisciplinary Art and Design Studies senior Olivia Barringer said she used to regularly visit the Eagle Commons Library prior to the cleanup, but has had to stop going due to her increased sensitivity to mold.

Last semester I noticed the bottom floor had parts that were being cut off for mold treatment,” Barringer said. “When I went back this semester I stayed on the floor above what was sealed off for the mold treatment and I didn’t stay for more than thirty minutes because I started coughing.”

Eagle Commons Library said on Twitter that while they wanted to assure students the mold in the library is “just ordinary mold,” students with sensitivities should avoid the book areas while they are still in containment.

Students and faculty can report suspected mold by contacting the Work Control Desk at 565-2700 or filling out an online indoor air quality report for Risk Management Services.

“We always ask people – if you see something, report it to us,” Reynolds said. “In some of the older residence halls, people can help us out. If you get dehumidifiers plugged in, keep them operating. Don’t leave doors and windows propped open competing with the air conditioner. In some rooms, like at College Inn, you can turn the temperature controls. Don’t make it too cold, don’t make it too hot, and don’t turn the fans off. [Those are] kinds of things that can help us prevent [mold] from occurring.”

Featured Image: Sections of the Eagle Commons Library beneath Sycamore Hall closed off due to mold. Image by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia

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Brooke Colombo

Brooke Colombo

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